Seatbelt fines to double next year

Ministers to increase fine to reduce deaths

Fines for motorists who fail to wear seatbelts are to double next year. Figures produced recently show that every year approximately 565 people killed in road accidents are not wearing seatbelts. It is estimated that more than 300 could have be saved by using seat belts. A substantial minority of around 14% of adults are inconsistent about using the seatbelt, the 17-34 year olds being the main offenders. It has been compulsory for twenty six years for drivers and front passengers to wear seatbelts and the rules now include back seat passengers and child car seats. The maximum fine for seatbelt offences is £500 but it is not endorsable so offenders do not accrue points on their licence. The £30 fixed penalty fine will be doubled to £60 in an attempt to deter seatbelt offenders, but campaigners believe the increased fine will have little effect as they feel the offence is not taken seriously enough. There were 235,000 fixed penalty notices issued in 2006 and around 4,000 cases went to court. It seems that tougher measures are needed to enforce this law.